Gabriel Cousens

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Gabriel Cousens
Gabriel Cousens cropped.jpg
Born Kenneth Gabriel Cousens
1943 (age 71–72)
Chicago, Illinois
Education Amherst College (1965)
Columbia Medical School (1969)
Medical career
Profession Physician, Homeopath
Specialism Homeopathy, raw foodism

Gabriel Cousens (born Kenneth Gabriel Cousens, 1943) is an American physician M.D., homeopath, and spiritual writer who practices holistic medicine. Cousens advocates live foods therapy, a nutritional regimen which he says can cure diabetes,[1] depression[2][3] and other chronic degenerative diseases. He is the founder of the "Essene Order of Light", an offshoot of a New Age religion based upon modern interpretations of the Essenes, an ancient Jewish sect, teachings from the Jewish Kabbalah and the Torah, and Hindu beliefs. Essene Order of Light is taught by Cousens at "Tree of Life Foundation", an organization directed by Cousens and headquartered at its "Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center" in Patagonia, Arizona.[4][5] Cousens has written books and tours internationally promoting his ideas on food and his spiritual beliefs.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Cousens grew up in Highland Park, Illinois.[7] When he was nine he experienced visions of "white-robed ancients", whom he later identified as members of the White Brotherhood, who were the Essene Elders or Order of Melchizedek.[4][8] He graduated from Amherst College in 1965 with a B.A. in biology, where he was a football lineman (guard). The team was undefeated in 1964, and that year he received a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award.[9] He earned his medical degree from Columbia Medical School in 1969, and he completed his residency in psychiatry in 1973.[7][10]

Describing his earlier diet, he said that he "wolfed down burgers and fries" in college.[11] He never met a vegetarian until he was 27, and he switched to the diet three years later.[7] After adopting the diet, he began teaching meditation and studying the Essene Way, with a focus on the Kabbalah, yoga, and kundalini. In 1974 he went to India to study with Swami Muktananda, ending up staying for seven years. After experiencing a Kundalini awakening in 1975, Cousens sought the ideal diet to support his spiritual experience and nurture spiritual growth, concluding that a live-food diet would do so. He returned to the United States in 1981 and returned to the study of the Essene Way, becoming ordained in 1988; he also became a Reiki master.[4] Among consumers and supporters of alternative medicine, Cousens acquired a reputation as an expert in spirituality,[12] fasting,[13] and raw food nutrition, both in the United States[14][15] and abroad.[16][17]

Tree of Life Foundation and Rejuvenation Center[edit]

The Tree of Life's restaurant in Patagonia, Arizona

Cousens founded the Essene Order of Light in 1992,[4] and the following year he established the Tree of Life Foundation as a federal tax-exempt religious organization operating out of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona.[5][18] The healing modalities offered at the center include fasting and detoxification, nutrition, raw food education, a natural approach to treating diabetes called conscious eating[7][19] program. Cousens is an ordained Rabbi[20] and offers workshops on spiritual Judaism.[21] His newest book, Torah as a Guide to Enlightenment, published through North Atlantic Books, is a commentary on the Torah from a Kabbalistic perspective. Cousens founded a not for profit organization called the Essene Order of Light which teaches "modern Essene living".[22][23] He outlined his philosophy in his book Creating peace by being peace.[24]

Cousens has advocated a nutritionally based raw food diet for babies and children.[25] He instituted a study of the medical history of infants and children and advocates for raw food education.[26]

In 1998, 57-year-old Charles Levy of New Jersey died after being treated at the center over a five-day period. The cause of death was determined by the Santa Cruz County Medical Examiner, who along with the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Board attributed the death to a gas gangrene infection caused by "bovine adrenal fluid" injections given by Cousens as part of a treatment for fatigue.[27][28][29] The autopsy also found that Levy had hepatitis, encephalomyelitis, and coronary atherosclerosis.[27] Levy's son said that his father was healthy, able to run three miles, not overweight, and had no high blood pressure at the time of his visit to the spa, and the family sued for malpractice.[28] Cousens settled the suit for an undisclosed amount paid to the family.[30] The case came up before the Arizona Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners in 2001. Despite the medical examiner's report and testimony, then Board Chairman Dr. Bruce Shelton said he "found no medical fault with Dr. Cousens' care of" Levy and the board found "no violation of homeopathic law" in Cousens' treatment.[28][29] Cousens argued that the medical examiner had misdiagnosed the cause of death, which he said was toxic shock unrelated to the injections, a claim that the Levy family attorney called "outrageous".[29]

A 2009 documentary, Simply Raw, followed six people with diabetes who go through a thirty-day program at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in an attempt to cure their disease with a raw food diet and without drugs.[31]


  • Tachyon energy: a new paradigm in holistic healing, with David Wagner. North Atlantic Books, 1999 OCLC 45162219
  • Conscious eating. North Atlantic Books, 2000 OCLC 40311543
  • Depression-free for life: an all-natural, five-step plan to reclaim your zest for living, with Mark Mayell. William Morrow & Co., 2000 OCLC 46801470
  • Rainbow green live-food cuisine. North Atlantic Books, 2003 OCLC 52377528
  • Spiritual nutrition: six foundations for spiritual life and the awakening of kundalini. North Atlantic Books, 2005.
  • There is a cure for diabetes: the Tree of Life 21-day+ program, with David Rainoshek. North Atlantic Books, 2008 OCLC 173480482
  • Creating peace by being peace: the Essene sevenfold path. North Atlantic Books, 2008 OCLC 192109603
  • Torah as a guide to enlightenment. North Atlantic Books, 2011 OCLC 687655506


  1. ^ "Diabetes is curable - Dr Cousens". (3 August 2011) Ghana News Agency. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Depression-Free for Life". (Review, 6 March 2000) Publishers Weekly, pp. 100-1. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Depression-Free for Life". (Review, 1 April 2000) Library Journal, p. 123.
  4. ^ a b c d Melton, J. Gordon, et al, eds. (2009) Encyclopedia of American Religions. Gale, p. 798.
  5. ^ a b Innes, Stephanie. (18 July 2004) "Feeding the Hungry Soul" Arizona Daily Star.
  6. ^ "About" Dr. Cousens' Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d Condor, Bob (1994-10-06). "Before Chowing Down, Think about What You're Eating". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  8. ^ "Spiritual Biography" Dr. Cousens' Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  9. ^ Litsky, Frank (8 December 1964). "Football Honors the Brains Among Its Brawn; 11 Scholar-Athletes to Get $500 Each for High Grades". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Gabriel Cousens M.D., M.D.(H), D.D. Dr. Cousens' Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  11. ^ Condor, Bob (1996-08-14). "Slow Pace is a Smart Move when Eating is the Event". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  12. ^ Arlene Fine. Lettuce' becomes vegetarians: Holistic doctor advocates a meatless lifestyle (subscription required). Cleveland Jewish News. May 18, 2001.
  13. ^ "Rest the Tummy, Restore the Soul". New York Times. 2003-08-24. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  14. ^ "Nutritionist to present workshop at middle school" (26 May 2005) Portland Press Herald
  15. ^ "Baby Greens: A Live-Food Approach for Children of All Ages (subscription required)". Dynamic Chiropractic. July 4, 2006. Retrieved March 8, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Poder crudo". Rolling Stone Argentina. 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  17. ^ "South Africa: Internationally Acclaimed Health Guru To Visit South Africa". February 16, 2000.
  18. ^ "Journeys; No talking. No fun. It's called a vacation". January 16, 2004. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  19. ^ "Downshifting At Dinner". Orlando Sentinel. September 12, 1996. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  20. ^ "Modern Jewish pioneers flock to Patagonia". Arizona Jewish Post. June 17, 2010. 
  21. ^ Encyclopedia of American Religions – Page 821 J. Gordon Melton
  22. ^ J. Gordon Melton. The Encyclopedia of American Religions (7th ed.). p. 821. ISBN 9780787663841. .
  23. ^ Donley, Kelli M. (December 14, 2007). "3 Arizona retreats to refresh your spirit". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  24. ^ Cousens, Gabriel (2008). Creating peace by being peace : the Essene sevenfold path. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 9781556437229. 
  25. ^ Cousens, Gabriel (2005). "Preface". In Lynn, Michaela; Chrisemer, Michael. Baby greens: a live-food approach for children of all ages. Berkeley, California: Frog. pp. ix–x. 
  26. ^ "Raw food diet: half-baked idea for kids?". Columbia News Service. March 19, 2006. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b Sandal, Inger (June 24, 1999). "Homeopathic doctor sued over death linked to bovine-fluid shots". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b c Dickerson, John (April 10, 2008). "Arizona's homeopathic board is the second chance for doctors who may not deserve one". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b c Sherwood, Robbie (October 9, 2005). "Homeopath patient's death debated despite Ariz. board clearing doctor". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  30. ^ Stephen Barrett, M.D. (August 21, 2003). "Cellular Therapy". Quackwatch. Retrieved June 2013. 
  31. ^ Welte, Jim (August 23, 2009). "San Rafael man touts raw food in new documentary". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 

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